Mastercard and Visa
Mastercard was the first credit-card company to come under attack by hackers, and attacks on Visa soon followed – both launched in retaliation for the companies’ refusal to process donations to WikiLeaks. At various points Wednesday, parts or all of their websites were down, MSNBC reported.
NPR reported Thursday that WikiLeaks’ payment processor, Iceland's DataCell ehf, is preparing to sue both companies for their decision to block the funds, which it claimed is costing the company money.
"It's difficult to believe that such a large company as Visa can make a political decision," [CEO Andreas] Fink said in a telephone interview from Switzerland. In an earlier statement, his company had defended the WikiLeaks, saying that "it is simply ridiculous to think WikiLeaks has done anything criminal."
Paypal, which stopped accepting payments for donations to WikiLeaks, was another one of the early victims of hacker attacks. Its blog was down earlier in the week and its main website was inaccessible for several hours Wednesday, according to Computer World. Access was sporadic into Thursday morning. Because Paypal relies on people being able to log in to its site, the company is taking a financial hit from the attacks.
Swiss bank Postfinance
The Swiss bank Postfinance, a financial branch of the Swiss postal system, has been struggling to stay online as well after it shut down one of the key WikiLeaks bank accounts.
According to Fox News, Postfinance spokesman Alex Josty said the website “buckled under a barrage of traffic” on Tuesday but that the attacks have eased up. "It was very, very difficult, then things improved overnight," he told the AP. "But it's still not entirely back to normal."
The New York Times also reported that the websites of the Swedish prosecutor’s office and the lawyer representing the women involved in the accusations against Assange were down at various points. (Editor's note: The original version used the term "charges" when it should have used "accusations.")
Former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin has been a vocal critic of WikiLeaks, and hackers are fighting back. Computer World UK reported that her personal website was down Thursday morning local time and in an email to ABC news, said that her and her husband’s credit card information had been hacked.
The attacks come only a week after Palin … said the Wikileaks founder, Julian Assange, should be hunted down in the way armed forces target the Taliban and Al-Qaeda.
In an outburst on Facebook, Palin had branded Assange “an anti-American operative with blood on his hands”.
After the attack on her site, Palin wrote: “This is what happens when you exercise the First Amendment and speak against [Assange’s] sick, un-American espionage efforts.”